Recent Work By TNB Editors

Now playing on Otherppla conversation with Nicolette Polek. Her new story collection, Imaginary Museums, is available from Soft Skull Press.

 

Polek is a writer from Cleveland, Ohio and is a recipient of the 2019 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award.

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Available from Graywolf Press

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“In this outrageous piece of rural noir and pitch-perfect characterization, Unferth recalls Edward Abbey’s The Monkey Wrench Gang with a dose of vegan-minded quirk. This entertaining, satisfying genre turn shows off Unferth’s range, and readers will be delighted by the characters’ earnest crusade.” —Publishers Weekly (starred)

Two auditors for the US egg industry go rogue and conceive a plot to steal a million chickens in the middle of the night—an entire egg farm’s worth of animals. Janey and Cleveland—a spirited former runaway and the officious head of audits—assemble a precarious, quarrelsome team and descend on the farm on a dark spring evening. A series of catastrophes ensues.

Deb Olin Unferth’s wildly inventive but utterly plausible novel is a heist story of a very unusual sort. Swirling with a rich array of voices, Barn 8 takes readers into the minds of these renegades: a farmer’s daughter, a former director of undercover investigations, hundreds of activists, a forest ranger who suddenly comes upon forty thousand hens, and a security guard who is left on an empty farm for years. There are glimpses twenty thousand years into the future to see what chickens might evolve into on our contaminated planet. We hear what hens think happens when they die. In the end the cracked hearts of these indelible characters, their earnest efforts to heal themselves, and their radical actions will lead them to ruin or revelation.

Funny, whimsical, philosophical, and heartbreaking, Barn 8 ultimately asks: What constitutes meaningful action in a world so in need of change? Unferth comes at this question with striking ingenuity, razor-sharp wit, and ferocious passion. Barn 8 is a rare comic-political drama, a tour de force for our time.

Now playing on Otherppla conversation with Amina Cain. Her new novel, Indelicacy, is available from Farrar, Straus, & Giroux.

 

This is Amina’s second time on the program. She first appeared in Episode 390 on November 25, 2015.

She is also the author of the short story collection Creature, out with Dorothy, a publishing project, and her writing has appeared in Grantan+1The Paris Review Daily, BOMBFull StopVice, the Believer Logger, and elsewhere.

She lives in Los Angeles and is a literature contributing editor at BOMB.

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Joseph Grantham talks with Big Bruiser Dope Boy (author of Foghorn Leghorn and editor/founder of Gay Death Trance) about architecture, Wisconsin, pseudonyms, despicable words and phrases, homophobia, football, the meaning of life, shock jocks, and matzo ball soup.

 

 

 

Joseph Grantham talks to Brad Listi (host of the Otherppl Podcast and founder of The Nervous Breakdown) about podcasting, Céline, Vonnegut, anxiety, hypochondria, pornography, politics, Bob Marley, and lots more.

 

 

Now playing on Otherppl, a conversation with Elaine Kahn. She is a writer and artist currently based in Los Angeles. Her new poetry collection, Romance or The End, is available from Soft Skull.

 

Kahn’s other book is called Women in Public (City Lights, 2015). She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a BFA from California College of the Arts. And she teaches at the Poetry Field School.

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Now playing on Otherppl, a conversation with Matthew Zapruder. His latest poetry collection, Father’s Day, is available from Copper Canyon Press.

 

This is his second time on the program. He first appeared in Episode 477 on August 9, 2017.

Zapruder is a poet, translator, professor and editor. He earned a BA in Russian literature at Amherst College, an MA in Slavic languages and literature at the University of California, Berkeley, and an MFA in poetry at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he studied with Dara Wier, James Tate, and Agha Shahid Ali.

He is the author most recently of Sun Bear, Copper Canyon, 2014, and Why Poetry, a book of prose about poetry, Ecco/Harper Collins, 2017. An Associate Professor in the MFA at Saint Mary’s College of California, he is also editor at large at Wave Books, and from 2016-7 held the annually rotating position of Editor of the Poetry Column for the New York Times Magazine. He lives in Oakland, California. He also plays lead guitar in the rock band The Figments, a Western Massachusetts based band led by songwriter Thane Thomsen.

Zapruder’s other collections of poetry include Come On All You Ghosts (2010), The Pajamaist (2006), and American Linden (2002). He collaborated with painter Chris Uphues on For You in Full Bloom (2009) and co-translated, with historian Radu Ioanid, Romanian poet Eugen Jebeleanu’s last collection, Secret Weapon: Selected Late Poems (Coffee House, 2008).

 

In the summer of 2019, surrounded by ten air conditioners, Megan Boyle interviewed Joseph Grantham about the meaning of life, boredom, interviewing Stephen Dixon, Catholicism vs. Judaism, The Hurt Locker vs. Avatar, first memories of the internet, Snood, Raking Leaves vs. Tom Sawyer, baseball vs. football, & lots more.

 

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Now playing on Otherppla conversation with Amanda Yates Garcia. Her new memoir, Initiated: Memoir of a Witch, is available from Grand Central Publishing.

This is Amanda’s second time on the podcast. She first appeared in Episode 444 on December 21, 2016.

Garcia is a writer, artist, professional witch, and the Oracle of Los Angeles. Her work has been featured in The Millions, The LA Times, Time Out, LA Weekly, GOOP, Glamour, The London Times, CNN, Salon, as well as a viral appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight. She has led classes and workshops on magic and witchcraft at UCLA, UC Irvine, MOCA Los Angeles, The Hammer Museum, LACMA, The Getty and many other venues. Co-host of the popular Between the Worlds podcast, Initiated is her first book.

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Steffie Nelson, Heather John Fogarty, and Sarah Tomlinsonare the guests. All are contributors to a new essay anthology called Slouching Towards Los Angeles: Living and Writing by Joan Didion’s Light.The collection is edited by Steffie Nelson and is available from Rare Bird Books. It is the official January pick of The Nervous Breakdown Book Club.

 

In The White Album, Joan Didion famously wrote that “a place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively…loves it so radically that he remakes it in his image.” Cruising in her Daytona yellow Corvette Stingray, taking it all in behind dark glasses, Joan Didion claimed California for all time. Slouching Towards Los Angeles is a multi-faceted portrait of the literary icon who, in turn, belongs to us.

This collection of original essays covers the turf that made Didion a sensation—Hollywood and Patty Hearst; Malibu, Manson and the Mojave; the Summer of Love and the Central Park Five—while bringing together some of the finest voices of today’s Los Angeles and beyond. Slouching Towards Los Angeles is a love letter and thank you note; personal memoir and social commentary; cultural history and literary critique. Fans of Didion, lovers of California, and fellow writers alike will all find something to dig into, in this rich exploration of the inner and outer landscapes Joan Didion traveled, shaping our own journeys in the process.

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Available from Feminist Press

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“A rich, deeply felt novel about family ties, immigration, sexual longing, faith, and desire. Simultaneously raw and luminous.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred)

Uprooted from her comfortable life in Bogotá, Colombia, into an ant-infested Miami townhouse, fifteen-year-old Francisca is miserable and friendless in her strange new city. Her alienation grows when her mother is swept up into an evangelical church, replete with Christian salsa, abstinent young dancers, and baptisms for the dead.

But there, Francisca also meets the magnetic Carmen: opinionated and charismatic, head of the youth group, and the pastor’s daughter. As her mother’s mental health deteriorates and her grandmother descends into alcoholism, Francisca falls more and more intensely in love with Carmen. To get closer to her, Francisca turns to Jesus to be saved, even as their relationship hurtles toward a shattering conclusion.

Now playing on Otherppla conversation with Milo Martin. He is the author of the poetry collections Poems for the Utopian Nihilist (Echo Park Press) and the forthcoming sublemon/sublime. He is also collaborating on an upcoming art book with Gigi Spratley and Jack Waltrip.

A poet by trade, Martin has toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe. He has been invited to perform at international literature and poetry festivals in France, Italy, Germany and Croatia as well as numerous venues in Estonia, Switzerland, Holland, Liechtenstein and Serbia. His works have been translated into four languages. Educated at San Francisco State University and the University of Southern California, he currently resides in Los Angeles. He contends that birds and insects are manifest angels.

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Mark Guerin is the guest. His debut novel, You Can See More From Up Here, is available from Golden Antelope Press. It is the official December pick of The Nervous Breakdown Book Club.

 

Guerin is a 2014 graduate of Grub Street’s Novel Incubator program in Boston. He also has an MFA from Brandeis University and is a winner of an Illinois Arts Council Grant, the Mimi Steinberg Award for Playwriting and Sigma Tau Delta’s Eleanor B. North Poetry Award. A contributor to the novelist’s blog, Dead Darlings, he is also a playwright, copywriter and journalist. He currently resides in Harpswell, Maine, with his wife, Carol, and two Brittany Spaniels.

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Now playing on Otherppla conversation with Tim O’Brien. He is the author of The Things They Carried, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award. And he is the recipient of the 1979 National Book Award for Fiction for his novel Going After Cacciato. His latest book, a memoir, is called Dad’s Maybe Book, available now from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

 

O’Brien was born in 1946 in Austin, Minnesota, and spent most of his youth in the small town of Worthington, Minnesota. He graduated summa cum laude from Macalester College in 1968. From February 1969 to March 1970 he served as infantryman with the U.S. Army in Vietnam, after which he pursued graduate studies in government at Harvard University. He worked as a national affairs reporter for The Washington Post from 1973 to 1974.

His short fiction has appeared in The New YorkerEsquireHarper’sThe AtlanticPlayboy, and Ploughshares, and in several editions of The Best American Short Stories and The O. Henry Prize Stories. In 1987, O’Brien received the National Magazine Award for the short story, “The Things They Carried,” and in 1999 it was selected for inclusion in The Best American Short Stories of the Century, edited by John Updike. O’Brien is the recipient of literary awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He has been elected to both the Society of American Historians and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. O’Brien currently holds the University Endowed Chair in Creative Writing at Texas State University. He lives with his wife and children in Austin, Texas.

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Now playing on Otherppla conversation with Abigail Tarttelin. Her new novel, Dead Girls, is available from Rare Bird Books. It was the official November pick of The Nervous Breakdown Book Club.

This is Abigail’s second time on the program. She first appeared in Episode 194 on July 28, 2013.

Tarttelin is also the author of Golden Boy, “a grippingly innovative” coming-of-age novel with a “radical non-binary, pro-intersex message” (Autostraddle). Golden Boy is the winner of an Alex Award from the American Library Association, a LAMBDA Literary Award Finalist for Best LGBT Debut, a Booklist Top Ten First Novel of 2013, a School Library Journal Best Book of 2013, and is published in eight languages.

Her journalism has appeared in The Guardian, The Independent, Glamour, Phoenix, Oh Comely, and The Huffington Post. Also a screenwriter, in 2016 Abigail served as a juror for the British Independent Film Awards. She is the recipient of awards from The Authors Foundation and The K Blundell Trust in Great Britain.

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